In the vibrant landscape of LGBTQ rights and advocacy, certain milestones shine as beacons of hope and change.
It is in February 2019 that everything switches in the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia.
The Prime Minister of this federated state, Daniel Andrews, announces his intention to ban “conversion therapies”.
He said that his government will “bring in laws to denounce and prohibit LGBTI conversion practices, ending the bigoted practice that has caused so much trauma to too many Victorians”.
The government has kept its word and has been working on a draft law to ban this abhorrent practice, then inviting LGBTQ people who have undergone these “therapies” to give their opinion on the draft law in a consultation launched in October 2019.
The bill in question was introduced in the Victorian Parliament last week and I must admit that it is the toughest ban in the world that I know of against anyone who would attempt to practice or subject a person to “conversion therapy”.
Indeed, if the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 were approved, it would first allow the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to investigate any reports of conversion practices.
Any practitioner who was known to attempt to “change” sexual orientation or gender identity would then be liable to:
And that’s not all because the Victoria government’s bill goes much further than the other similar prohibitions that have already been discussed on LQIOO and that essentially condemn practitioners.
Here, the bill also includes a penalty for anyone who attempts to “convert” another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
This also includes those who would send someone to another Australian state for “conversion therapy”, even if that state does not prohibit the practice.
“We’re sending a clear message: no one is ‘broken’ because of their sexuality or gender identity,” Victoria’s attorney general, Jill Hennessy, said, according to The Guardian. “These views won’t be tolerated in Victoria and neither will these abhorrent practices.”
All that remains now is to get a vote from legislators, which will not occur until next year at the earliest.
In 2019, the Ozanne Foundation surveyed survivors of such “therapies” in the United Kingdom.
The results were frightening.
They revealed that one in five people had attempted suicide after undergoing “conversion therapy”.